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posted on 08/27/2003 12:01:03 AM PDT
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posted on 08/27/2003 12:02:02 AM PDT
Iran Does Not Rule Out Expelling British Envoy
August 27, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iran yesterday did not rule out expelling the British ambassador to Tehran should its row with London over Britain's arrest of its former top envoy to Argentina reach boiling point.
"We hope it will not each that stage," government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told a weekly news conference, after being asked whether Tehran would expel the British ambassador or recall its top envoy from London.
But "we are keeping all legal and diplomatic options open," he added.
On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi warned his British counterpart, Jack Straw, that the arrest of the former diplomat will have a "very bad impact on bilateral relations" and that Tehran will defend him "in every way."
"This case is political, not judicial ... planned and executed by the Zionist lobby in Argentina," Ramezanzadeh added.
"It is a plan to sow confusion in the minds of our international friends and we know that some parts of the US government and Zionists are behind this," he added.
"I hope other countries take into consideration their own relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran's regional importance."
Hadi Soleimanpur, 47, was arrested Thursday in Durham in northeast England, where he had been attending university.
He is suspected of involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aries that killed 85 and injured 300 when he was ambassador to Argentina.
He is set to remain in custody until a London court rules on an Argentine extradition request.
Iran has demanded his immediate release and an apology from Britain, as well as slapping economic sanctions on Buenos Aires for issuing an international warrant for his arrest. http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Gulf%2C+Middle+East+%26+Africa&month=August2003&file=World_News2003082722640.xml
posted on 08/27/2003 12:10:07 AM PDT
INTELLIGENCE MINISTRY DENIES ITS STAFF KILLED ZAHRA KAZEMI
TEHRAN 26 Aug. (IPS) Iran's Information (Intelligence) Ministry on Tuesday strongly denied a report by the Judiciary that two of its interrogators had killed Ms. Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian-Iranian photojournalist murdered last July while in the custody of Iranian authorities.
The Tehran prosecutor's office, headed by Judge Said Mortazavi, believed to be the real murderer of Ms. Kazemi, had announced on Monday that two interrogators from the Intelligence Ministry had been charged with "semi-intentional" killing of the 54 years-old photographer.
Iranian jurists and lawyers had denounced the decision to put the Tehran prosecutors office in charge of the investigations, observing that anyhow, the Prosecutor was one of the interrogators.
According to the French daily "Liberation", it was Mr. Mortazavi who provoked the death by hitting Ms Kazemis head with his shoe, trying to make her confess to espionage, probably for the United States.
Informed Iranian sources said considering that Mr. Mortazavi is a protégé of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, the investigation committee did its best to have him cleared from the charges, putting the blame on the government instead.
According to the findings of an official investigation committee formed on orders by President Mohammad Khatami, Ms. Zahra Kazemi was killed by a blow to the head while being interrogated for taking photographs outside the notorious Evin prison in the outskirts of Tehran some two weeks before her arrest.
At first, the Iranians claimed that Ms. Kazemi died of a brain stroke, but the investigation committee, made of ministers of Interior, Intelligence, Justice and Guidance determined that the death was caused by brain haemorrhage due to a solid bloc that hat hit the head and Iran's Vice-President Mohammad Ali Abtahi said at the end of July she was probably murdered.
"The incident that led to the death of Zahra Kazemi was not at all done by the staff of the Intelligence Ministry. How the incident happened is clearly evident for this Ministry and the general public will be informed about it at the proper time", the official news agency IRNA quoted a statement from the Intelligence Ministry as saying.
The reformist newspaper "Yas No" said the Intelligence Ministry statement described the prosecutor's report, prepared by a criminal investigator, as "sheer lies".
"The claims of the investigator that the interrogators were members of the Intelligence Ministry is not realistic," the newspaper quoted the ministry as saying.
The tragic death of Ms. Kazemi clouded the normally good relations between the Islamic Republic and Canada, specially after the authorities buried the body in her original hometown of Shiraz, south of Iran, despite an official document signed by her mother for the transfer of the body to Canada for autopsy.
Ottawa recalled its ambassador from Tehran and called on the United Nations and international organisations for pressing Tehran for the return of the body.
However, after the charges were announced, Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham welcomed the news as "a very positive step" but said he had not confirmed details of the charges. He said Canada would press Iran to ensure the process was transparent.
The incident has thrown a spotlight on the shadowy practices of Iran's security services and the treatment of the media in the Islamic Republic, where, on orders from the leader, Mr. Mortazavi has shut down more than a hundred newspapers and publications, most of them supporting reforms promised by Hojjatoleslam Khatami but never upheld. ENDS JOURNALIST DIES 26803 http://www.iran-press-service.com/
posted on 08/27/2003 12:11:36 AM PDT
Iran Faces Showdown on Nuclear Secrets
August 27, 2003
Julian Borger and Dan De Luce
In a report due out today that is likely to trigger a showdown over sanctions, the UN's nuclear watchdog has demanded Iran urgently explain evidence that it may have secretly enriched uranium.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms in its report that it detected highly enriched uranium in samples taken at a nuclear plant at Natanz, one of the sites the US claims Iran has been using for a covert nuclear weapons programme.
Iran has told the IAEA the samples came from nuclear equipment that was contaminated when it was bought a decade ago for civilian purposes. But Tehran has not said who sold the equipment, only that it was purchased through an intermediary company.
Analysts said yesterday that the evidence pointed towards Pakistani companies selling Dutch designs for enrichment centrifuges.
Iran has also admitted carrying out uranium conversion experiments in the early 90s, producing uranium tetrafluoride, a halfway stage to the production of uranium hexafluoride, which is the form used in the enrichment process.
The report, delivered to IAEA member states yesterday and expected to be made public today, is likely to be taken by Washington as backing for its argument that Iran should be declared in violation of its non-proliferation obligations and subjected to sanctions.
However, Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman, said the report did not offer conclusive proof of violations.
"It asks a lot more questions than it provides answers," Ms Fleming said. "The investigation is no longer in mid-course but it is not there yet. Over the next several weeks and months a number of questions have to be answered."
US diplomats have been trying to rally support for the American position at a pivotal meeting of the IAEA's board of governors on September 8.
If the board rules Iran in violation, it would trigger a security council discussion on imposing sanctions, which could scuttle an EU trade deal and a treaty allowing Japanese companies to drill for oil. Russia is also helping Iran build a civilian nuclear reactor.
A state department official visited Moscow to try to persuade the Russian government to halt nuclear cooperation but left without an agreement.
In an apparent attempt to forestall sanctions, Iran gave its strongest indication yesterday that it might be ready to agree to snap nuclear inspections, a demand of the international community.
Despite lobbying from the EU and Russia, Iran has refused to sign the additional protocol to the non-proliferation treaty. Drawn up after the first Gulf war, the protocol would require Iran to allow short-notice inspections of declared and undeclared sites.
Tehran's representative to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, said his country would consider signing the additional protocol if concerns about "sovereignty" were clarified.
David Albright, a nuclear expert at the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said that Mr Salehi had been known for several weeks to be in favour of the protocol, but that the ultimate decision would be taken by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Citing Iraq's experience, Iran's conservative clerical leadership has expressed concern that the US could use the short-notice inspections to carry out espionage.
Western governments believe Iran may be close to building a nuclear bomb and that it has received help from scientists in Pakistan, North Korea and elsewhere. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1029813,00.html
Iran Urges Release Of Ex-diplomat at UK Straw Meeting
August 27, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
LONDON -- Iran has called on the U.K. for the speedy release of a former Iranian diplomat, arrested over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Euro-American affairs Ali Ahani met U.K. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Tuesday to call for the former diplomat to be released, Iran's official news agency IRNA reports on its Web site.
Hadi Soleimanpour was arrested in the U.K. last Thursday for his alleged involvement in the Argentinian bombing.
An Argentine judge is seeking the extradition of eight Iranians, including Soleimanpour, Iran's ambassador to Argentina when the explosion killed dozens of people.
"The decision of the Argentine judiciary was politically-motivated and the verdict lacked validity," IRNA quoted Ahani as saying.
IRNA reported that Straw assured Ahani he would take all necessary steps within the framework of the U.K.'s judicial system.
The U.K. Foreign Office said Straw told Ahani that the arrest is a judicial matter and the government cannot intervene.
Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Iran is threatening to expel the U.K.'s ambassador to Tehran and downgrade diplomatic relations over the arrest.
President Mohammad Khatami has referred to the arrest as "incorrect" and "tactless" and the row threatens to derail the U.K.'s "constructive engagement" policy with Tehran. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=08&d=27&a=6
Text Of President Bush's Speech
August 27, 2003
President Delivers Remarks to 85th American Legion Convention
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. Thanks for that warm welcome. It is great to be here in St. Louis, Missouri, at the 85th Annual Convention of the American Legion. I wonder if I'm the only member here today from Post 77, in Houston, Texas.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Seems like they'd have given you a better seat. (Laughter and applause.)
It is always an honor to be with people who have served America and who love America. (Applause.) When the American Legion held its first caucus in this city, back in 1919, Legionnaires dedicated this organization to the service of God and country. Times change, but those are still the right priorities. (Applause.)
On behalf of your fellow citizens, I thank the American Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary for your idealism and for your faithful service to God and country. (Applause.)
I'm honored to be traveling today with Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Tony Principi. He served in Vietnam,and he serves his comrades in my Cabinet. He's a tireless advocate for our nation's veterans
I want you to understand the facts of this good man's leadership. The budget for Veterans Affairs has gone up by $15 billion since I took office, a 30 percent increase. And my budget for fiscal year 2004 includes the largest discretionary increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs ever requested by a President. (Applause.)
The Department, under Tony's lead, has made major progress in reducing the backlog of veterans' disability claims and the number of veterans waiting for health care. And we will continue to work to make sure those backlogs are eliminated.
I want to thank Ron Conley, the National Commander of the American Legion, for his kind introduction and for his leadership of this distinguished group of citizens.
I appreciate Senator Jim Talent and Congressman Todd Akin from the state of Missouri who are here with us today. I thank Elsie Bailey, American Legion's Lady Auxiliary National President. (Applause.)
I'm honored to be on the stage with Major General Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor recipient. (Applause.) I know in the audience somewhere is my friend Arlene Howard. There she is. Arlene, thank you. I don't know if you remember the speech I gave in front of the Congress right after the attacks of September the 11th, but I held up the badge of one of the brave who were killed. It was the badge of Arlene's son. I'm honored you're here, Arlene, I appreciate you coming -- I can't wait to give you a hug. (Applause.)
I want to thank the board of directors for the invitation. And I want to thank you all for being such great Americans. The American Legion is an effective and respected voice for the veteran, and you speak with authority. In the years following the first world war, leaders of this organization helped to establish the U.S. Veterans Bureau. Following World War II, you helped secure passage of the G.I. Bill. (Applause.) (Applause.) You've supported the memorials to those who fought in World War II and Korea and Vietnam, so the sacrifices of those wars are always remembered. (Applause.)
For two generations, you have demanded a full accounting of Americans whose fate is undetermined. And my administration will not rest until that accounting is complete. (Applause.) And having fought under the American flag and seen it folded and given to families of your friends, you are committed, as am I, to protecting the dignity of the flag in the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.)
In the 20th century, the American flag and the American uniform stood for something unique in history. This nation gained great power and we used that power in the service of human freedom. Americans liberated continents and concentration camps. America's armed forces humbled tyrants and raised up and befriended nations that once fought against us. Our nation led a great alliance against a communist empire, until that empire was gone and its captives were free. America's veterans have all been a part of this great story of perseverance and courage, and people and nations across the world are better off because of your service. (Applause.)
On Memorial Day last year, I visited the military cemetery at Normandy, and saw the grave of one of the founders of the American Legion, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. When Roosevelt landed with the first wave of his unit on D-Day, he and his men found themselves in a different part of Utah Beach from the point they expected. Roosevelt quickly sized up the situation and called in a whole division to the new sector. Turning a challenge into an advantage, he declared: we'll start the war from here. (Applause.)
Well, a great challenge came to America on September the 11th, 2001. Enemies who plotted for years in secret, carried out missions of murder on our own soil. It was a day of suffering and sorrow. It was also a day of decision for our country. As a united and resolute people, America declared: we'll start the war from here. (Applause.)
In this first war of the 21st century, America and all free nations are facing a new threat and fighting a new enemy, a global network of terror supported by outlaw regimes. We've seen the hand of the terrorist enemy in the attacks on our country. We've seen the deadly work of the terrorists in Bali, in Mombasa, in Riyadh, in Jakarta, in Casablanca. On a single day last week we saw the true nature of the terrorists once again. In Baghdad they attacked a symbol of the civilized world -- the United Nations Headquarters -- and killed men and women who were there to bring humanitarian help to the Iraqi people. They killed a respected U.N. Special Representative, Sergio Vieira deMello, from Brazil.
And on the same day in Jerusalem, a terrorist murdered 21 innocent people who were riding a bus, including little children and five Americans.
The terrorists' aim is to spread chaos and fear by killing on an ever-widening scale. They serve their cause by sacrificing the innocent. They celebrate the murder of women and children. They attacked the civilized world because they bear a deep hatred for the values of the civilized world. They hate freedom and religious tolerance and democracy and equality for women. They hate Christians and Jews and every Muslim who does not share their narrow and violent vision.
No nation can be neutral in the struggle between civilization and chaos. Every nation that stands on the side of freedom and the value of human life must condemn terrorism and act against the few who would destroy the hopes of the many. (Applause.)
Because America stands for freedom and tolerance and the rights of all, the terrorists have targeted our country. During the last few decades the terrorists grew bolder, believing if they hit America hard, America would retreat and back down. Five years ago, one of the terrorists said that an attack could make America run in less than 24 hours. They're learning something different today. The terrorists have not seen America running, they've seen America marching. They've seen the armies of liberation. (Applause.) They have seen the armies of liberation marching into Kabul and to Baghdad.
The terrorists have seen speeding tank convoys and roaring jets and special forces arriving in midnight raids. And sometimes justice has found them before they could see anything coming at all. We've adopted a new strategy for a new kind of war. We will not wait for known enemies to strike us again. (Applause.) We will strike them and their camps or caves or wherever they hide before they hit more of our cities and kill more of our citizens. We will do everything in our power to deny terrorists weapons of mass destruction before they can commit murder on an unimaginable scale.
The security of this nation and our friends requires decisive action. And with a broad coalition, we're taking that action around the globe. We are on the offensive against terror, and we will stay on the offensive against terror. (Applause.)
In Afghanistan, we acted against the Taliban regime that harbored al Qaeda and ruled by terror. The Taliban felt pretty strong, when they were whipping women in the streets and executing them in soccer fields. When our coalition moved in, the Taliban ran quickly for the caves. But the caves could not hide these killers from justice. We've sent a message that is understood throughout the world: if you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists, and the Taliban found out what we meant. (Applause.)
Afghanistan today is a friend of the United States of America. Because we acted, that country is not a haven for terrorists, and the people of America are safer from attack. That nation still faces challenges, and our coalition forces there still face dangers. Yet, we're working every day to make sure that Afghanistan finds its future as a free and stable and peaceful nation.
America and the new Afghan army are working together in a major operation, called Warrior Sweep, which is hunting down terrorists one by one. NATO is now taking a leading role in keeping Afghanistan secure. New roads are being built, medical clinics are opening, and many young girls are going to school for the first time, thanks to our coalition and the United States of America. (Applause.)
The al Qaeda terrorists lost a base in Afghanistan, but they operate in many other places. We're on their trail, from Pakistan, to the Philippines, to the Horn of Africa. Earlier this month, we captured a major terrorist named Hambali. He's a known killer, and was a close associate of September the 11th mastermind, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad. Hambali was one of the world's most lethal terrorists, and is suspected of planning the attack on Bali and other recent acts of terror.
We're making steady progress. Nearly two-thirds of known senior al Qaeda leaders, operational managers, and key facilitators, have either been captured or killed. (Applause.)
Now al Qaeda is wounded, yet, not destroyed. It remains a grave danger to the American people. Terrorist networks are still finding recruits and still plotting attacks, and still intending to strike our country. Yet, our resolve is firm, and it is clear: no matter how long it takes, we will bring to justice those who plot against America. (Applause.)
We've also pursued the war on terror in Iraq. America and our coalition removed a regime that built, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, a regime that sponsored terror and a regime that persecuted its people. Our military coalition destroyed the Iraqi regime, while taking extraordinary measures to spare innocent life. (Applause.) The battle of Iraq was conducted with the skill and honor of a great military, the United States Armed Forces. (Applause.)
Because of our military, catastrophic weapons will no longer be in the hands of a reckless, unstable dictator. Because of our military, Middle Eastern countries no longer fear subversion and attack by Saddam Hussein. Because of our military, Iraq will no longer be a source of funding for suicide bombers in the Middle East. Because of our men and women in uniform, the torture chambers in Iraq are closed, the prison cells for children are empty and the people who speak their minds need not fear execution. (Applause.)
In all the debates over Iraq, we must never forget
Iraq. We must never forget the brutal nature of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Mass grave sites, literally thousands of people buried in mass grave sites were recently discovered by our troops. They contain the remains not only of executed men and women, but of executed children, as well.
Our people in uniform, joined by fine allies, ended this nightmare in Iraq, removed a threat to the world, and they have made our nation proud. (Applause.)
The work of our coalition in Iraq goes on because that country is now a point of testing in the war on terror. The remnants of Saddam's regime are still dangerous, and terrorists are gathering in Iraq to undermine the advance of freedom. Al Qaeda and the other global terror networks recognize that the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime is a defeat for them. They know that a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would be a further defeat for their ideology of terror. They know that the spread of peace and hope in the Middle East would undermine the appeal of bitterness, resentment, and violence. And the more progress we make in Iraq, the more desperate the terrorists will become. Freedom is a threat to their way of life. (Applause.)
They have sabotaged water mains and oil pipelines, and attacked local police. Last week, they killed aid workers bringing food and medicine to the country. The terrorists have killed innocent Iraqis and Americans and U.N. officials from many nations. They have declared war on the entire civilized world, and the civilized world will not be intimidated. (Applause.)
Retreat in the face of terror would only invite further and bolder attacks. There will be no retreat. (Applause.)
We are on the offensive against the Saddam loyalists, the foreign fighters, and the criminal gangs that are attacking Iraqis and coalition forces. We're receiving more and more vital intelligence from Iraqi citizens, information that we're putting to good use. Our recent military operations have included almost 200 raids, netting more than 1,100 detainees. Since the end of major combat operations, we have seized more than 8,200 tons of ammunition, thousands of AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.
And as we help the Iraqi people establish security, we are working through that famous deck of cards. So far, of the 55 most wanted Iraqi leaders, 42 have been captured or killed. (Applause.) The brutal, viscous sons of the dictator are gone. (Applause.) Recently we captured the former Vice President of Iraq. He was one of Saddam Hussein's most feared enforcers. And recently, as well, we captured the man known as Chemical Ali. He earned his nickname by ordering chemical weapon attacks on whole Iraqi villages, killing thousands of citizens. Chemical Ali's savage career is over. (Applause.) The search goes on for other former leaders of Iraq, and we will find them. (Applause.) After decades of smothering fear, the Iraqi people can be certain: the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone, and it is never coming back. (Applause.)
Ultimately, the security of Iraq will be won by the Iraqi people themselves. They must reject terror, and they must join in their own defense. And they're stepping forward. More than 38,000 Iraqis have been hired as police officers. Iraqi police and border guards and security forces are increasingly taking on critical duties. Over 1,400 Iraqi civil defense corps volunteers are being trained to work closely with coalition forces; 12,000 Iraqis will be trained in the next year for the country's new army.
At the same time, 31 countries have contributed 21,000 forces to build security in Iraq. I will continue to challenge other countries to join in this important mission. In most of Iraq today, there's steady progress toward reconstruction and civil order. Iraq's Governing Council, representing the nation's diverse groups is steadily assuming greater responsibility over the country. The coalition provisional authority, led by Ambassador Paul Bremer, is implementing a comprehensive plan to ensure a successful, democratic Iraq, and a better future for the Iraqi people.
Building a free and peaceful Iraq will require a substantial commitment of time and resources, and it will yield a substantially safer and more secure America and the world. I'll work with the Congress to make sure we provide the resources to do the work of freedom and security.
Iraq's progress toward self-determination and democracy brings hope to other oppressed people in the region and throughout the world. It is the rise of democracy that tyrants fear and terrorists seek to undermine. The people who yearn for liberty and opportunity in countries like Iran and throughout the Middle East are watching and they are praying for our success in Iraq. (Applause.)
More progress will come in Iraq, and it will require hard and sustained efforts. As many of you saw firsthand in Germany and Japan after World War II, the transition from dictatorship to democracy is a massive undertaking. It's not an easy task. In the aftermath of World War II, that task took years, not months, to complete. And, yet, the effort was repaid many times over as former enemies became friends and allies and partners in keeping the peace.
Likewise, the work we do today is essential to the peace of the world and for the security of our country. America is a nation that understands its responsibilities and keeps its word. And we will honor our word to the people of Iraq and those in the Middle East who yearn for freedom. (Applause.)
Murderers will not determine the future of Iraq, and they will not determine the future of the Middle East. In Jerusalem, as in Baghdad, terrorists are trying to undermine the hopes of peace with acts of violence. Their desperation also grows as the parties move closer to a just settlement. But terrorists do not speak for the Palestinian people. They do not serve the Palestinian cause. And a Palestinian state will never be built on the foundation of violence. (Applause.)
Now is the time for every true friend of the Palestinian people, every leader in the Middle East, and the Palestinian people, themselves, to cut off all money and support for terrorists, and actively fight terror on all fronts. (Applause.) Only then can Israel be secure and the flag rise over an independent Palestine. And to bring that day closer, America will be a consistent friend of all who work for peace.
For nearly two years, on many fronts, the United States and our friends have conducted a global campaign against terror. We met the enemy on desert sands and mountain passes, wherever they choose to gather and fight. We've had successes, yet our mission continues. The stakes could not be greater for the American people. All of us who have taken an oath to defend this nation will do our duty. (Applause.)
Our military forces in the war on terror are showing the definition of duty. In hostile conditions and remote parts of the earth, brave Americans are sacrificing for freedom and the security of others. Some have been wounded, and some have been killed. The veterans in this hall understand the loss and sadness that have come to military families. This nation is grateful to every man and woman who serves, and we honor the memory of all who have fallen.
We also remember what this fight is about. Our military is confronting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York, or St. Louis, or Los Angeles. (Applause.)
Our Armed Forces are doing the work they are called to do. They're taking the fight to the enemy so that America and our friends can live in peace. The war on terror is a test of our strength. It is a test of our perseverance, our patience, and our will. This nation has been tested before -- by the character of men and women like you, we've come through every trial.
And so it is today. Our course is set. Our purpose is firm. No act of terrorists will weaken our resolve or alter their fate. Our only goal, our only option, is total victory in the war on terror. And this nation will press on to victory. (Applause.)
Thank you for having me. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America. (Applause.) http://www.ctnow.com/news/custom/newsat3/hc-bushvets0827,0,729160.story?coll=hc-headlines-newsat3
The Peace Trap
August 27, 2003
National Review Online
Back to the war, please.
For the second time in as many years, President Bush has fallen into a trap designed to prevent an American victory against the forces of terrorism in the Middle East. The original trap sprung in early 2002 after the decimation of the Taliban and al Qaeda was the so-called "Saudi peace plan," according to which the United States was not entitled to liberate Iraq until and unless the Palestinian question was "solved." It should have been obvious that this was merely an effort to stall our war against the terror masters, since many of the finest diplomatic and strategic minds in the world had failed to "solve" the problem for more than half a century, and the Saudis themselves were actively funding the very Palestinian terrorism that guaranteed the failure of any solution. But every Arab country, virtually all of Europe, and our own diplomats, from Secretary of State Colin Powell on down, urged the president to go for it.
This delayed Operation Iraqi Freedom for many months, until President Bush realized that nothing could be accomplished with a Palestinian tyranny, whereupon he abandoned the Saudi plan, declared Yasser Arafat persona non grata, and pressed ahead with the war. But the long delay proved very costly. Had we proceeded quickly against the terror masters in Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus (with explicit warnings to Riyadh that they would be next if they did not stop financing both terrorist organizations and the network of radical jihadist schools and mosques that inculcated fanaticism around the world), we would have had considerable international support, especially if our war employed a mixture of military and political tactics (Iran, for example, required no military action at all, but modest support for a democratic revolution already under way). But the delay enabled the major opponent of the war notably France, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran, Syria, and Egypt to drag us into the quagmire of the United Nations for even further delays, and sabotage our support in Turkey and elsewhere.
Moreover, by stalling the second battle in the war, our regional enemies in Iran and Syria had plenty of time to plan their response to our pending occupation of Iraq. As they unhesitatingly and publicly proclaimed to anyone who cared to listen, they organized a terror war against us, accompanied by jihadist propaganda, mass demonstrations, and hostage seizures, just as we experienced in Lebanon in the 1980s. And they were true to their word. The mounting terror campaign speaks for itself, and, at last count, more than ten Iranian-sponsored radio and television stations were broadcasting in or into Iraq.
In other words, we cannot win in Iraq without defeating the other terror masters as well. Simple common sense required that we do what President Bush proclaimed shortly after September 11: move forcefully against the terrorist organizations and the states that sponsor and support them. But we did not do that. Instead, the president permitted himself to be dragged into the same trap he fell into after Afghanistan: delaying any further action until the Israel/Palestinian problem was "solved." This time it was called a roadmap, but, both in concept and consequence, there was no meaningful difference between this scheme and the earlier Saudi trap. Just as it was folly to believe that peace could be achieved in any part of the Middle East merely because Afghanistan had been freed of the grip of the terror masters, so it was a mistake to expect terror to end simply because Saddam Hussein had been overthrown. Just as the delay after Afghanistan permitted our enemies to organize their political, diplomatic, and terrorist forces against us, so our current defensive stance enables them to intimidate and indoctrinate the Iraqi people, murder our own men and women on the ground, and galvanize the president's critics and opponents, both at home and abroad.
The president gave voice to a welcome revolutionary doctrine when he refused to deal with Yasser Arafat: He said that just as only free Middle Eastern countries could be expected to abandon terrorism and join us in fighting it, only a free and democratic Palestinian people could make a durable peace with Israel. But he has ignored a key corollary to that axiom. There can be no peace anywhere in the region so long as the terror masters are free to operate. In recent weeks many of the recent attacks in Israel have been tracked back to Iran, at the same time that numerous Iranian terrorists have been arrested by Iraqi police and turned over to American forces.
So long as President Bush remains entrapped by the false vision of the "peace process" and plays defense in Iraq, initiative passes to the terror masters. He often speaks as if he understood his peril, but his diplomatic and military policies remain paralyzed by false vision. Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia organize, fund, and support the terror war in Iraq, but instead of supporting freedom fighters in Iran to topple the world's major sponsor of terror, we plaintively implore the mullahs to hand over some al Qaeda leaders so we can get on with lifting sanctions and "normalizing" relations. Instead of bringing real pressure to bear on the Baathist regime in Syria and the cunning Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, we plead with the tyrannical leaders of those countries to behave better, so we can have better relations.
This is unworthy of a serious country, and the peoples of the region whose destiny is at stake in this matter. Understand that while we say we're at war, we're certainly not waging it at the moment. Unless we escape from the trap, it is only a matter of time before our soldiers and diplomats in Iraq fall prey to the terror masters on a greater scale.
The longer we delay the inevitable reckoning, the more costly it will be. It's time to get out of the trap and resume the war.
Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen is resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen082703.asp
The West's Urge to Surrender is Palpable
August 26, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Among the more comical moments of a grim week was the sight of the president of the Security Council expressing his condemnation of the terrorist attack on the UN. The rest of the time, he's the representative of Syria. Syria is a terrorist state.
Syrians have flooded across the border into Iraq to take up arms with their beleaguered Ba'athist brethren. It would not be surprising to discover a Syrian connection to one or both of Tuesday's terrorist strikes in Baghdad and Jerusalem.
Indeed, some have already posited a Syrian link to what happened at the UN building. But Syria happens to hold the presidency of the Security Council, so a fellow who's usually the bespoke apologist for terrorists gets to go on TV to represent the international community's determination to stand up to terrorism.
Well, that's the luck of the draw at the UN, where so far this year Libya, Iraq and Syria have found themselves heading up the Human Rights Commission, the Disarmament Committee and the Security Council. The UN's subscription to this charade may be necessary in New York, but what's tragic is that they seem to have conducted their affairs in Baghdad much the same way. Offers of increased US military protection were turned down.
Their old Iraqi security guards, all agents of Saddam's Secret Service there to spy on the UN, were allowed by the organization to carry on working at the compound.
And sitting in the middle of an unprotected complex staffed by ex-Saddamite spies was Sergio Viera de Mello, the individual most directly credited with midwifing East Timor into an independent democratic state. Both the Bali bombers and Osama bin Laden (or, more accurately, whoever makes his audio cassettes) have cited East Timor as high up on their long list of grievances: the carving out, as they see it, of part of the territory of the world's largest Islamic nation to create a mainly Christian state.
Now they've managed to kill the fellow responsible. Any way you look at it, that's quite a feather in their turbans.
But it doesn't really matter who's actually to blame - Ba'athist Iraqis or al-Qaida Saudis, or even anti-Saddam Iraqis affronted by the UN's corrupt Oil For Food program. As far as the world's press is concerned, the folks who are really to blame are the Americans.
It's the Americans' fault because:
a) they made Iraq so insecure their own troops are getting picked off every day;
b) okay, fewer are being picked off than a few weeks back, but that's only because the Americans have made their own bases so secure that only soft targets like the UN are left;
c) okay, the UN's only a soft target because it turned down American protection, but the Americans should have had enough sense just to go ahead and install the concrete barriers and perimeter trenches anyway;
d) okay, if they'd done that, the beloved UN would have been further compromised by unduly close association with the hated Americans, which is probably what got them killed in the first place.
IN OTHER words, whatever happens, it's always evidence of American failure. That's the only "root cause" most of the West is interested in. Anyone who thinks Tuesday's events might strengthen the international community's resolve to resist terrorism is overlooking the fact that among the Europeans, the Canadians and New Zealanders, the British and Australian press, CNN and The New York Times and a large majority of the Democratic party the urge to surrender is palpable.
At the moment, there's only one hyperpower (the US), one great power (the UK) and one regional power (Australia) that are serious about the threat of Islamist terrorism.
There's also Israel, of course, but Israel's disinclination to have its bus passengers blown to smithereens is seen (even by the three staunch musketeers of the Anglosphere) as evidence of its "obstinacy" and unwillingness to get the "peace process" back "on track."
What a difference it would make if one or two other heavyweight or even middleweight nations were to get serious about the battle and be a reliable vote in international councils. But who? France? It's all business to them, unless al-Qaida was careless enough to blow up the Eiffel Tower. Canada? Canadians get blown up in Bali, murdered in Iran, tortured in Saudi Arabia, die in the rubble of the UN building in Baghdad - and their government shrugs. Belgium? They'd rather issue a warrant for Rumsfeld than Chemical Ali.
And so on Tuesday, up against an enemy unable to do anything more than self-detonate outside an unprotected facility and take a few Brazilian civil servants and Canadian aid workers with him, the global community sent out a Syrian ambassador to read some boilerplate and then retreated into passivity and introspection and finger-pointing at Washington.
This is the weirdly uneven playing field on which the great game is now fought. Islamic terrorism is militarily weak but ideologically confident. The West is militarily strong but ideologically insecure.
We don't really believe we can win, not in the long run. The suicide bomber is a symbol of weakness, of a culture so comprehensively failed that what ought to be its greatest resource - its people - is instead as disposable as a firecracker. But in our self-doubt the enemy's weakness becomes his strength.
We simply can't comprehend a man like Raed Abdel Misk, pictured in the press last week with a big smile, a check shirt and two cute little moppets, a boy and a girl, in his arms. His wife is five months pregnant with their third child. On Tuesday night, big smiling Raed strapped an 11-pound bomb packed with nails and shrapnel to his chest and boarded the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem.
The terrorist leaders watch CNN and the BBC and, understandably, they conclude that in Iraq America, Britain and all the rest will do what most people do when they run up against someone deranged: back out of the room slowly.
They're wrong. There's no choice. You kill it here, or the next generation of suicide bombers will be on buses in Rotterdam, Manchester, Lyons, and blowing up the UN building in Manhattan. This is the battlefield.
The writer is senior contributing editor for Hollinger Inc. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1061869388206
posted on 08/27/2003 11:32:23 AM PDT
The following report is from Debka. As always, their reports are too often flawed but occassionally right on the money. So I report, you decide. -- DoctorZin (Too busy to confirm or deny this report)
Al Qaeda Mobilizes All Its Forces for Iraq
August 27, 2003
This week, Al Qaeda came out with a claim of responsibility for the huge truck bombing at UN Baghdad headquarters on August 19, in which 23 people lost their lives including senior UN representative in Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello and some 150 were injured. The al Qaeda message appearing on an Arabic Web site accuses the United Nations of being a branch of the American State Department and against Arabs and Muslims.
US officials are reporting their sense that hundreds of Osama bin Ladens members are now operating inside Iraq alongside Baathists in their bid to undermine the US presence and reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
In its last issue, Number 122, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported a surge of electronic messages calling on every al Qaeda adherent in the world to mobilize for the battle in Iraq. Victory over the United States will be far quicker than many think, say the messages.
Never before, according to DEBKA-Net-Weeklys counter-terrorism sources, has al Qaeda staged a general mobilization. It is no propaganda exercise. The response has been enthusiastic and its impact noticeable.
Al Qaeda combatants have been racing towards Iraq in large numbers along four main routes. The most surprising and most recent is the path from western Saudi Arabia through Iran, about which more hereunder.
The Pakistani-Iranian route:
Claims by senior Iranian leaders of having thwarted Al Qaeda attacks inside Iran are but a smokescreen for the mass influx of Osama bin Ladens men into the Islamic Republic from the east: The group entering from the Pakistani border region of Baluchistan forms up at the Iranian cities of Zabol and Zahedan; the group from the Afghan town of Herat foregathers near the north Iranian city of Mashhad.
Irans all-powerful Revolutionary Guards have their intelligence units conduct security checks at both assembly points to establish the terrorists real identities and origins. They are watched by men loyal to al Qaeda operations expert Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, who is thought to have set up his base in Tehran. Once they reach northern Iraqi Kurdistan, they join the Ansar al-Islam extremists heading south to Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle towns of Ramadi, Tikrit, Balad and Fallujah.
Ansar is held responsible for the Jordanian embassy bomb attack in Baghdad last month. This Iraqi al Qaeda affiliate, once no more than 600 to 800 fighters, has swelled and set up two new units: Jund al-Allah, or Soldiers of Allah, and al-Usad, or The Lions, indicating a Syrian connection. (Bashar Assads name means lion.) Its members are deployed along the northwestern Iraqi-Syrian border, attaching themselves to the al Qaeda arrivals from Syria.
The two groups have already executed joint strikes in the northern Iraqi oil city of Mosul. In one, they attempted to assassinate the local chief of police, but only seriously wounding him.
The Syrian route:
At least 1,000 al Qaeda men have traveled along this busiest of all the corridors into Iraq, DEBKA-Net-Weeklys counter-terrorism sources report. Damascus International airport is logistical hub and main distribution point for Al Qaeda operatives flying in from Central Asia, Chechnya, the Balkans mainly Kosovo and Bosnia Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and even Iran.
Many Al Qaeda fighters turned back by Iran for security reasons go round through Damascus, some hosted at the teeming medressas, or religious schools, other at Palestinian terrorist training camps operating in Damascus. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command receive a large part of their operational funding from Tehran and moreover collect a fee per head for every Al Qaeda operative they train.
On their way into Iraq, Osama bin Ladens men transit Syrian-Iraqi frontier lands dominated by nomadic Saudi-Iraqi-Syrian Sunni tribesmen. For almost a decade, DEBKA-Net-Weeklys intelligence and military sources reveal, Saddam sent monthly stipends to tribal, clan, business and clerical leaders ruling an area roamed by two million of these tribesmen. Once a year, Saddam resettled several thousand demobilized Iraqi officers and their families in the region with orders to assimilate and set up familial relations with the local tribes.
Since the money dried up from Baghdad, Syrian-administered Iranian funds have been disbursed to those tribal leaders. As a result Saddam loyalists are still in control of the tribal regions which US intelligence has found impenetrable. A rare intelligence source knowledgeable about the region told DEBKA-Net-Weekly : It is true that guerrilla attacks against the Americans are launched from the Sunni Triangle. However the logistics and the consignment of fighting strength to the Triangle are directed from the tribal territories.
In the last week, the flow of Syrian and Al Qaeda fighters across the frontier into Iraq has doubled.
The Saudi route via Iran:
This is the newest channel, first set up in mid-July - but also one of the busiest, believed to have accommodated 1,500- 2,500 Saudi al Qaeda combatants transiting Iran at the rate of almost a thousand a week. Some are thought to be on the run from the Saudi hue and cry conducted against these fundamentalist terrorists since the May 12 Riyadh bombings. Another group appears to consist of Afghan-Pakistan combat veterans obeying the call to arms and eager for the chance of revenge for their rout in Afghanistan. They are also looking forward to an advance base from which to strike down the Saudi throne.
The opening of this route means that for the second time in two years Iran is granting Saudi al Qaeda combatants free passage from one anti-American battle arena to another.
Like Syrian president Bashar Assad, who claims to know nothing of the al Qaeda fighters passing through Damascus, Tehran too says it is powerless to halt their through-passage into Iraq as tourists on valid Saudi passports. They all head to the western Ilan region, where local smugglers help them cross over to the Iraqi towns of al Kut in the south or Baquba in the center.
The Saudi route via Syria:
The same Syrian-Saudi Sunni Muslim tribes who crisscross the Iraqi-Syrian frontier also trek along a north-south route between Syria and Saudi Arabia via Jordan. En route, they collect Saudi, Yemeni, Sudanese and other al Qaeda fighters all heading towards the Iraqi battlefront.
Despite this surge of al Qaeda traffic into Iraq, Washington is reluctant to send reinforcements to the 140,000-strong force shouldering the extra burden and casting about for foreign troop increments.
US administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer and American military commanders have asked the Bush administration for two more divisions at full strength to meet the fresh contingencies. President Bush has promised a decision in early October. US field commanders fear the six-week delay will exact a heavy toll on security in Iraq. They predict -
A. The guerrilla war will intensify and the infiltrations of Al Qaeda and other anti-American elements further build up.
B. Strategic parts of Iraq will fall under the control of the Islamist terror group as it ranks are beefed up by unimpeded infiltrations.
C. Tehran will intervene on the side of the Sunni Muslim campaign against the Americans by sponsoring more terrorist attacks like the bombings of the Jordanian embassy and UN HQ in Baghdad. This intervention may draw Iraqi Shiites into the conflict whereas at present they view it as a purely a Sunni war. http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=548
Iran Extradition Row Continues
August 27, 2003
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani has held talks in London with the British foreign minister, Jack Straw, on the arrest of the former Iranian ambassador to Argentina by British police.
Mr Ahani called for the release of the former ambassador, Hadi Soleimanpour, who is studying in England.
He said the Argentine court's request for Mr Soleimanpour's arrest was illegal and politically motivated.
But a UK Foreign Office spokesman told BBC News Online the British Government was not involved at any stage and any action is now a matter for the courts.
Mr Soleimanpour is wanted by police in Argentina in connection with the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, in which more than 80 people were killed.
Iran denies any involvement in the bombing and has warned the UK of serious consequences unless Mr Soleimanpour is freed immediately.
Relations under threat
The UK Foreign Office denied the arrest was politically motivated, saying it was the result of international legal processes.
It added the future of bi-lateral relations is now in Iran's hands.
"We don't want this issue to affect bi-lateral relations, we have made clear this is not a political issue and we must abide by our international obligations," the spokesman said.
"Iran needs to understand Britain is a key voice for determining EU policy towards Iran. The Iranians are keen to keep EU relations with Iran on track so it is in no-one's interests to have a fall out at this stage."
An Iranian Government spokesman said Teheran hopes it will not come to the withdrawal of ambassadors, but he said all legal and diplomatic options were open.
Iranian officials have said they want the issue resolved by Friday.
But extradition cases can take months because the person being extradited can appeal against decisions.
The BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Barnaby Mason, says that while the British Government is insisting that the extradition process is a matter for the courts and it cannot interfere, this is not entirely true.
In reality, extradition under British law is not a purely judicial affair - the final decision is made by the home secretary, but he gets involved only after the courts have given their ruling.
At that point, the home secretary may consider political and other representations - for example, from the Foreign Office and the Iranian Government.
A few years ago, the English courts ruled that the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, could be extradited to Spain, but the government then freed him on health grounds. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3185111.stm
Iran Sought to Buy Dual-use Nuclear Equipment in France
August 27, 2003
VIENNA -- Iran has sought to buy, in several countries but especially in France, nuclear equipment that could be used for civilian as well as military purposes, according to a French official document a copy of which was obtained by Agence France-Presse.
"The list of Iranian attempts to buy (equipment) from the French nuclear industry... clearly points to the development of major resources for the reprocessing and manipulation of radioactive fuel," said the document presented to the Nuclear Suppliers Group at Pusan, South Korea, early this year.
The paper, whose authenticity was confirmed by diplomatic sources in Vienna, said that in late 2000, Iran tried to buy from a French supplier 10 high-density shields with a radioactive protection factor equivalent to 140 centimetres of concrete.
In 2002, an Emirates-based Iranian company tried to buy 28 remote-controlled manipulators, of which half were able to handle material whose radioactivity was above the usual maximum levels allowed in the civilian nuclear industry.
The paper said the equipment could be used for the reprocessing and manipulation of plutonium, a radioactive element used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
The NSG, also known as the London Club, groups 40 countries that supply nuclear equipment and technology, and was formed in 1974 to prevent the exportation of nuclear technologies for military purposes. http://www.iii.co.uk/shares/?type=news&articleid=4730436&action=article
Iran Intelligence Ministry Blames Hardliners in Kazemi Death
August 27, 2003
The Canadian Press
TEHRAN -- Iran's reformists accused hardliners of a coverup, with a parliamentarian reporting Wednesday that a judiciary agent had been blamed for the murder of a Montreal photojournalist who died after being beaten in custody.
Such charges and countercharges have characterized Iran's probe into the death of Zahra Kazemi, which has become the latest battleground in the power struggle between elected reformers and hardliners who control Iran's police force, judiciary and security agencies.
Earlier this week, the hardline Tehran prosecutor, whose office is part of the judiciary, issued a statement in which an independent judge said two Intelligence Ministry agents had been indicted "on charges of involvement in the semi-premeditated murder" of Kazemi. The Intelligence Ministry is loosely controlled by reformists.
Reformist legislator Naser Qavami told The Associated Press on Wednesday that a top Intelligence Ministry official told a closed meeting of parliament late Tuesday that a judiciary official working in the prison where Kazemi was held had beat her, leading to her death.
Qavami did not name the accused judiciary official. Intelligence Ministry officials contacted by the AP also refused to name their suspect.
The legislator said ministry officials also accused the judiciary of moving prison officers who witnessed the beating of Kazemi to different positions and pressuring them not to tell what they saw. During the closed parliament session, the officials also accused the judiciary of tampering with prison records and forcing Intelligence Ministry agents to accept responsibility for the murder.
Kazemi, 54, died July 10, nearly three weeks after being detained for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison during student-led protests. Prisons are under the authority of the hardline judiciary.
Initially, the hardline Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, was quoted as saying Kazemi had died of a stroke.
On July 30, Vice-President Mohammad Ali Abtahi told reporters Kazemi had been murdered. By then, Khatami had called for an independent judicial investigation. Veteran Judge Javad Esmaeili was appointed by the head of hardline judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi to direct the probe.
Kazemi's death was condemned inside and outside Iran. Canada threatened sanctions, and withdrew its ambassador after Kazemi was buried in her birthplace, the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, against the wishes of Canadian authorities and her son, who lives in Montreal.
Tuesday, government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said that the Iranian government had no duty to inform Canada of the results of its investigation into Kazemi's death. In Canada later Tuesday, France Bureau, spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, responded that Graham expects Iran to keep Canada informed.
Graham has said what Canada wants in the Kazemi case is an "understanding why she died, how she died and who will be held responsible."
Kazemi's son Stephan Hachemi told a news conference Tuesday in Montreal that high-ranking Canadian Embassy officials will meet soon with Mortazavi. He said they're going to ask him among other things to return the body of his mother to Canada. http://www.mytelus.com/news/article.do?pageID=world_home&articleID=1392775
Second Iranian Detained for 1994 Argentina Bombing
August 27, 2003
Voice of America
Police in Europe have released an Iranian diplomat after briefly detaining him in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina.
Officials say Saied Baghban was detained at the Brussels airport Wednesday, but was released hours later because he was found to have diplomatic immunity. Mr. Baghban is now a diplomat in Belgium.
Authorities detained him on an Interpol arrest warrant filed by Argentine Federal Judge Jose Galeano earlier this month. Judge Galeano ordered international warrants for eight Iranian diplomats for their alleged involvement in the July 18, 1994 bombing attack that killed 85 people.
Last week, Britain detained Iran's former ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, in accordance with the warrant. Iran has criticized Britain for the arrest and demanded the diplomat's release. On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said relations with Britain will be harmed because of the arrest.
Iran denies any involvement in the bombing.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=89787280-50C1-46B5-A620D6E71E00FE37
US Told Russia US Opposes Nuclear Cooperation with Iran
August 27, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
NEW YORK -- The State Department said Wednesday that the U.S. has told Moscow that no country, including Russia, should engage in nuclear cooperation with Iran until Tehran has satisfied international concerns about its nuclear program.
Deputy spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters in Washington that Undersecretary of State John Bolton had spoken to a Russian deputy foreign minister Monday and to the Russian atomic energy minister Tuesday.
Reeker said that until Iran had satisfied questions of the International Atomic Energy Agency and fully addressed concerns of the international community, including "full, immediate and unconditional implementation" of an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, then "we believe that no country should be engaging with Iran in nuclear cooperation, and that would include Russia."
According to the transcript of his briefing, Reeker said "that's the view that we express to Russia as well."
Reeker was asked about a report earlier Wednesday that Russia and Iran might sign an agreement requiring the return to Russia of all spent nuclear fuel from a reactor Moscow is helping Tehran build. Russia has implied that it could send fuel to an Iranian reactor if an agreement were in place on the return of the spent fuel.
Reeker noted that the U.S. has made clear that it has concerns about Iran and finds Iran's nuclear activities troubling. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=08&d=27&a=16
Canada Lashes Out at Iran Over Death Probe
August 27, 2003
OTTAWA -- Canada complained angrily on Wednesday that Iran had not yet handed over a report into the violent death of a Canadian journalist in Tehran and repeated a threat to impose sanctions unless the matter was resolved to Ottawa's satisfaction.
A spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Bill Graham said Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi had met senior Canadian officials on Thursday to discuss the case of Zahra Kazemi, 54, but had no provided no new details.
Mortazavi's office has charged two interrogators from the Intelligence Ministry with complicity in the "semi-intentional" murder of Kazemi, who died from a blow to the head after she was arrested for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison.
Graham spokeswoman Isabelle Savard said Graham had expressed his "profound disappointment" with recent developments in the case.
"Although Canada has made repeated requests, the Iranian government has yet to provide us with the investigative report on Ms Kazemi's death," she quoted Graham as saying.
"This is not the cooperation and transparency that Canada has insisted on and that I have been promised by (Iranian) Foreign Minister (Kamal) Kharrazi," Graham said.
Kazemi's death sparked a diplomatic dispute between Iran and Canada, which withdrew its ambassador in protest. Graham has also threatened unspecified sanctions against Iran unless the circumstances over her death are cleared up.
Asked whether the threat of sanctions was still valid, Savard replied: "All options are open".
She said the report into the death of Kazemi, who was buried in Iran against the wishes of her family and Ottawa, was now expected in September.
"The Minister also emphasized that the matter is not over, that Canada will continue to use every opportunity to see that justice is done for Ms Kazemi and that the wishes of her family to have her remains returned are respected," she said.
Iran's ability to unravel the case and punish the culprits is seen as a test of reformist President Mohammad Khatami's struggle to exert his authority over hard-line rivals who control the judiciary and other powerful state institutions.
The incident has also thrown a spotlight on Iran's security services and how the media in the Islamic Republic is treated.
Iran's Intelligence Ministry has denied its staff were in any way responsible for Kazemi's death.
Iranian officials initially said Kazemi died of a stroke, but an initial government inquiry concluded she had been killed by a brain hemorrhage caused by a severe blow to the skull.
Iran's Vice-President Mohammad Ali Abtahi said at the end of July she was probably murdered.
Stop Financing Iran's Nuke
August 27, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Iran, regarded by America as a pivotal component of the "axis of evil," may, in theory at least, soon face the threat of sanctions on the grounds that it has violated its own nuclear non-proliferation undertakings.
This follows a report by the UN's nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency confirming the detection of traces of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium at Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz. This is only one of the sites looming large in Iran's suspected clandestine atomic weapons development program.
Iran has clumsily tried to dismiss this evidence with the excuse that the IAEA samples originated from nuclear equipment purchased in the 1990s in an already contaminated state.
The Iranians failed to divulge the seller's identity, stating only that it was an intermediary company. Pakistanis are fingered by most experts as likely middlemen, peddling Dutch blueprints for enrichment centrifuges. However, this doesn't involve actual hardware, a fact that fails to satisfactorily account for the traces. Its vague, incomplete explanations are hardly likely to get Teheran off the hook.
Western intelligence agencies agree that Iran is racing to construct a bomb, with the main disagreement being how long it will take and at what stage, if any, the program can be blocked. The scandal is the number of supposedly responsible nations that will be to blame if Iran succeeds in going nuclear.
Russia, for example, is reportedly hoping to sign a deal to provide fuel rods for its reactor in exchange for commitments to return the spent fuel rods. On paper, this would ensure that no fuel rods or reactor products would be free for bombmaking. In practice, the prospect of the fuel rods being diverted would be so catastrophic that Russia must be persuaded not to ship them at all without proof that Iran has no bomb program.
Meanwhile in Japan, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom urged Tokyo to pull out of a $2.2 billion deal with Iran during his visit on Tuesday. It is unconscionable that Japan, itself adjusting to the idea of a nuclear North Korea next door and aware of Iran's nuclear program and its support for terrorism, would ignore American and Israeli pleas to hold off on financing the regime's plans. Yet the deal forges ahead; Iran's foreign minister was due in Tokyo this week.
Nor are the Japanese alone in their business-as-usual attitude toward this dangerous regime that has in recent months rounded up, beat, and killed untold numbers of its own people seeking freedom from its stifling grip.
Iran remains one of the most desirable business destinations and entrepreneurial individuals and governments continue to flock to its latter-day bazaars. Canada, Russia, China, South Africa, Turkey, the former USSR's Central Asian republics, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, and Spain are vying with each other for oil deals and queuing up to do other transactions with Teheran.
Analysts name several Western European countries as complicit in nuclear and high-tech dealings. So far none have yielded to American appeals (such as those made in Europe two weeks ago by US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham) to cease nuclear cooperation and cozy trade contacts with Iran.
The IAEA's board of governors is slated to convene on September 8. Should it pronounce Iran in violation, the issue could then reach the UN Security Council and trigger possible deliberations on sanctions.
Teheran does fear international censure, which could damage its business prospects. Iran's eager trading partners do possess a weapon they can effectively wield over the ayatollahs' heads. Many of them profess aversion to the use of force, as they recently did in the case of Iraq, of but that doesn't preclude economic action against a regime which endangers the world far more than any of the region's despots past and present.
Countries which sanctimoniously preach against violence and urge peaceful resolution of all differences cannot continue business as usual with those who can only be considered as the forces of darkness in the context of present-day international affairs. They are fully aware of the sinister nature of the Iranian regime and have been amply forewarned about its nuclear ambitions.
We have come to assume that it is unthinkable for free nations to join together in actively confronting a menace to their security and to the supposedly universal values of human rights.
Is it, however, too much to ask that they not aid, abet, and offer succor to a regime that is a clear and present danger?
Iran can be isolated economically. This is a measure Teheran dreads.
Those who will not desist even from aiding a dangerous foe, forfeit the moral right to berate any resolute democracy be it America or Israel which is left with no choice but to protect this region and the world. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1061959718229
Iran Threatens to Expel UK Ambassador
August 27, 2003
Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Christopher Adams
The Financial Times
Iran is threatening to expel Britain's ambassador to Tehran and downgrade diplomatic relations over the arrest in the UK of a former Iranian diplomat.
An expulsion and a downgrading of ties, possibly to chargé d'affaires level, would be a setback for Britain's strategy of "constructive engagement" with Iran. Jack Straw, foreign secretary, has visited Tehran several times and claims a good working relationship with his Iranian counterpart.
Iran's response could lead to European Union retaliatory action, western diplomats have warned. The threat comes days before EU foreign ministers are due to meet to discuss Iran's progress in complying with international demands to open its nuclear programme to tougher inspections.
A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday said Iran had improved its co-operation with inspectors, but "a number of important outstanding issues" were unresolved. Iran has said it is ready to discuss an agreement that would permit intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Diplomats in Tehran on Tuesday voiced fears that Iran was on the verge of expelling Richard Dalton, who arrived in December but is now on leave in the UK.
The threat, which diplomats said the Iranian leadership had made explicit within the last few days, follows the arrest in Britain of a former Iranian ambassador over the bombing in 1994 of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.
An Argentine judge is seeking the extradition of eight Iranians, including Hadi Soleimanpour, Iran's ambassador to Argentina when the bomb explosion killed 85 people. Mr Soleimanpour was arrested last week in Durham.
Britain maintains the arrest is a judicial matter and the government cannot interfere. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1059479341262&p=1012571727172
Chinese Enterprises' Managers Confer With Kharrazi
Tehran Times - Politics Section
Aug 27, 2003
BEIJING -- Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi in a meeting with the managers of large scale Chinese enterprises here on Monday night, invited them to get involved in Iran's various infrastructure projects, IRNA reported. Kharrazi who is in Beijing on an official visit, told the Chinese firms managers, "keeping in mind the potentially huge opacities for such infrastructure investments in constructing air orts, high ways, ports, power stations, and oil and gas facilities, we can predict the rapid boosting of the future perspective of the two countries' relations, that will be quite promising." He said, "It is quite natural that the daily expansion of the economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries would face certain difficulties in technical and commercial fields, which are negligible keeping in mind the high volume of bilateral relations."
The Iranian foreign minister expressed certainty that relying on mutual wisdom and broad mindedness of the financial managers of the two countries, and adopting appropriate legal procedures, the problems faced in the past would be fully eliminated, and their occurrence would be avoided in the future.
Announcing Iran's willingness for the Chinese enterprises' investments in its infrastructure projects, the foreign minister said that the Iranian Parliament has now passed the law related to legalizing foreign investments in the country, that has paved the way for foreign enterprises' presence. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1976.shtml
Vagueness and infighting obstructs Kazemi murder probe
Reporters Sans Frontieres - Press Release
Aug 27, 2003
Reporters Without Borders today denounced the lack of openness in the official enquiry into the death of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi and warned that it was falling victim to the power struggle between the Iranian regime's reformists and hardliners.
The criminal division of the Teheran public prosecutor's office announced on 25 August it had charged two employees of the pro-reformist intelligence ministry with "complicity in semi-intentional murder." But the next day, the ministry denied they were involved, saying the circumstances of the killing were very clear and that the real truth would soon be revealed.
The two unnamed employees reportedly interrogated Kazemi between her arrest on 23 June and when she was hospitalised on 27 June and are said to be in detention. A spokesman for the reformist government, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, said charging them had nothing to do with reality.
The deputy intelligence ministry told the so-called "Article 90" committee (that investigates complaints against the government, parliament and the judiciary) on 26 August that the ministry knew who had beaten the journalist soon after she was arrested.
"The fuzziness of the enquiry shows the authorities are not keen on investigating the case," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "We don't know exactly who has been arrested and the prosecution office's statement has been denied by the intelligence ministry, which just makes a few vague hints. The reformist-hardliner power struggle is blocking the investigation and makes it vital to have an independent and impartial enquiry with international experts in it. Canada must press for this," he said.
Kazemi, who lived in Canada, was arrested as she took pictures of prisoners' families in front of Teheran's Evin prison. She died on 11 July from injuries caused by her beating in detention. After officials tried to cover up the cause of her death, Vice-President Ali Abtahi admitted on 16 July she had been beaten.
Her body was hastily buried on 22 July in the southern town of Shiraz, despite her mother, who lives in Iran, asking for the body to be sent to Canada. She admitted on 30 July being pressured to allow burial in Iran. Canada is insisting the body be handed over to Kazemi's Canadian son Stephan, as he has requested.
Some reformist MPs have even accused the judiciary, controlled by the hardliners, of being responsible for her death. The fiercely anti-media Teheran prosecutor, Judge Said Mortazavi, reportedly tried to cover up her death and pushed for a quick burial. The culture ministry's foreign press chief, Mohammad Hussein Khoshvagt, admitted in a letter in the media on 24 July, that Mortazavi had forced him to say Kazemi had died of a brain haemorrhage. The judge reportedly accused him of issuing a press visa to Kazemi, who he said was a spy.
Reformist MP Mohsen Armin confirmed these manoeuvres by Mortazavi and a fellow reformist MP, Elaheh Koulaie, said Kazemi had been killed as part of the climate of censorship of the media and crackdown on all criticism.
Iran is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East, with 19 presently detained. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1977.shtml
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